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Website 101: Website Hosting and Domain Names Explained

Jan 27, 2020

Our clients often ask us, “what’s the difference between website hosting and a website domain?”, not knowing that they’re two completely individual things. Below we’ll outline the difference between the two, explaining why you need both to have a functioning website.

What Is a Domain Name?

A domain name is the address of a website that you type in the URL bar of a web browser (such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer) to visit a website.

Think of your website as a house – if your complete website was the house, then your domain name would be your address. You need to go to the correct address to get to the correct house, which is the same as typing in the correct domain name to get to the correct website.

To get more technical, think of the internet as a giant web of computers connected to each other via cables. To help keep track and identify each computer, they’re given what’s known as an IP address.

An IP address is a combination of numbers separated by dots.

An example of an IP address would be: 52.231.58.2

Computers have no problem remembering numbers, but humans do, which is where the creation of domain names comes in.

A domain name can use words and numbers and are far easier to remember for humans than a random string of numbers.

What Is Website Hosting?

Website hosting is simply a place to store all the files for your website. Like the analogy above, it’s your websites’ home.

All websites on the internet need web hosting.

When a person types in your domain name into a web browser, the domain name is then translated into your IP address (the string of number we referred to earlier) of your website hosting company’s computer.

That computer is your ‘house’ and contains all your website files which are then correctly ordered and displayed on the user’s web browser so that they can see and interact with your website.

The job of a website hosting company is to store and serve websites to the end user. They’re an invisible force, but an important one.

What Do I Need to Build a Website – a Domain Name or Website Hosting?

The answer is both.

Buying a domain name will give you exclusive rights to use that domain name for a specified time period (generally 1 year) and you pay an ongoing fee each year to keep your exclusive rights to use it.

Buying website hosting gives you a place to store your website files. Once you’ve purchased hosting you need to then ‘point’ your domain name to your hosting provider.

This may sound daunting, but it’s a straight-forward process.

Only after this is done can you then begin building your website. Most website hosting companies provide free software that allows you to click one button and install a CMS (content management system) like WordPress in no time.

Can I Have Multiple Domain Names?

Yes, you can have multiple domain names, but they must be for different websites.

In the earlier days of SEO, people bought multiple domains and pointed them to one main website – this is no longer effective.

With the correct type of web hosting, you can have multiple domains on one hosting account, which will allow you to easily manage all your domains from one spot.

Can You Manage This All for Me?

While we don’t sell domain names, we can assist in the process of buying one. The team at practiceedge offer premium Australian based hosting for our clients, which include:

  • Super-fast Australian servers
  • Multi-location hosting
  • Professional email filtering
  • Daily backups
  • 5GB of storage (additional storage available)
  • Unlimited support related to hosting and DNS
  • Assistance with email setup, password changes and IP blocking

We also offer a range of optional care plans featuring additional benefits such as 24/7 uptime, virus and malware monitoring, WordPress plugin updates, developer support time and more! Contact practiceedge for more information on website hosting and maintenance or to discuss your digital marketing strategy.

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